Also known as “celery root,” this vegetable is in fact a variety of celery that has been bred specifically for the edible root. With its aromatic, mildly sweet flavor and a potato-like texture, celeriac is an incredibly versatile root vegetable that pairs well with just about everything.
Originating in the Mediterranean basin, celeriac can be found in ancient foodways around the world. Its popularity peaked in the late 19th century when the use of the celeriac spread throughout Europe. Today, it can be found in classic recipes from French celerie remoulade to a vegetarian version of German schnitzel to fried tostones in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.
Celeriac is notably high in vitamin K, an essential nutrient for blood and bone health. It is also a good source of vitamin B6, phosphorus, and vitamin C.
Pat the bulb dry to prevent excess moisture, and store whole and unpeeled until ready to use. If kept reasonably dry, whole celeriac can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.
The herbaceous flavor of celeriac makes it a natural candidate as a base for broths and soups. It’s also popularly grilled, roasted, fried into tempura, or substituted for potatoes or other root vegetables in a mash or as a topping for shepherd’s pie. Grated or sliced, raw celeriac adds a new dimension of flavor to salads and slaw, and pairs especially well with carrots, beets, and apples.
Grate celeriac into a bowl with diced onion, two eggs, and a handful of flour. Stir together with salt and pepper, then fry spoonfuls in a very hot pan until golden and crispy on both sides. Serve hot, topped with sliced apples, chives, sauerkraut, sour cream, and/or bacon.
The irregular surface of the celeriac bulb can present a challenge. Peel safely by first cutting off the top and bottom of the bulb, so that it can stand upright on a cutting board. Use a sharp paring knife, rather than a vegetable peeler, to remove the skin. To maintain the creamy white color of celeriac, briefly soak the peeled bulb in a bowl of water with a drop of lemon juice or vinegar, then proceed with cutting and cooking.